BRAD HADDIN is experiencing a tough initiation, but successfully forging his own style, says Adam Gilchrist – the man he replaced.
Gilchrist, who retired in January after 96 Tests, believes Haddin is feeling the pressure but has done an admirable job of battling through pain and holding his ground in tough conditions.
"He is going to serve Australian cricket well for a number of years," Gilchrist said. "I just love his courage. His thumb is absolutely shattered, he’s playing through pain, not dissimilar to Ian Healy.
"I feel a bit bad that I never broke a finger and never had to endure that pain. But ‘Hadds’ is doing a great job, and I think as long as he’s not getting worried by missing balls going for byes or something like that – which he won’t – he’s a tough character, and I think he’s doing a good job."
Haddin had to bide his time for several years as Gilchrist held a mortgage on the top wicketkeeping post in the country.
But Gilchrist believes the experience Haddin gained playing first-class cricket has steeled the Cowra-born 31-year-old for a prosperous tenure as the gloveman of choice. His confidence will ensure that he remains his own man.
"Everyone is always under pressure to perform at Test level, there’s no doubt about that, and Hadds has got almost 10 years of first-class cricket experience under his belt," Gilchrist said.
"He is tailor-made to take on that job. I remember walking into that position after Ian Healy, and the first decision I made was to try not to be Ian Healy. I tried to learn as much as I could from him, but I don’t have to be him, and I think Brad has already made that decision.
"He’s forged his own reputation, his own career, his own style, and he’ll serve Australia well.
"It’s a ruthless place [India] to wicketkeep over there. I know Hadds went to the West Indies, that was his debut tour, but this so early in your [Test] career … but he’s so experienced."
Haddin is in the mould of the modern keeper in that he is an accomplished batsman. The runs may not have started flowing for him, however, Gilchrist – who redefined the role of the keeper-batsman – believes the context of Haddin’s contributions should not be overlooked.
"Look at the last Test match. I think he got 30  and 30  or thereabouts, which given the circumstances with a bit of cricket knowledge you might realise they are really useful contributions," he said.
"It’s not the glory of 140 or 200, or even 80, but that’s still a significant contribution. Anyone who follows the game closely will know he’s contributed in a big way already in the form of those innings, and it’s a matter of time ’til he nails a big one."
Haddin has long had a reputation for being mentally, and physically, tough. Although, in a profile written in The Sun-Herald two years ago, he laughed at being described as a frustrated rugby league player.
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